NOVAK Djokovic is set to be deported today after losing his appeal against the cancellation of his visa.
The world No1 will NOT defend his title in the Australian Open as he’s forced out of the country after lawyers claimed he’s become an “icon” for anti-vaxxers.
Djokovic is being booted out of Australia after losing his appealCredit: EPA
The ace could be marched to the airport under armed guard todayCredit: EPA
He’s one of just three players inside the ATP’s top 100 who have not been vaccinated.
Three judges have unanimously dismissed his last-ditch appeal to stay Down Under and play.
The star could now be frog-marched to the airport under armed guard, it’s believed.
He met with immigration officials and Border Force for a secret showdown at an undisclosed location yesterday.
The saga over Djokovic’s jab status began when his visa was revoked when he first landed in Aus.
The Serbian 20-time Grand Slam champ was given his marching orders following a six-hour stand-off at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.
He had initially been granted a vaccine exemption – his lawyers said, because he contracted Covid-19 in December – to compete before his visa was dramatically cancelled.
Djokovic was then rushed to an immigration hotel, despite pleading to be moved to more elaborate digs with a tennis court or to have his private chef provide vegan meals – requests which were denied.
A judge then ordered his passport to be handed back – saying he was “agitated” about the case and asking: “What more could this man have done?”
However, in a twist, the government then revoked his visa again.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his powers on “health and good order” grounds.
Djokovic’s legal team appealed the decision yet again.
But their pleas for him to remain in Australia were overruled, and he’ll likely be escorted to the airport and forced aboard a plane home today.
Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan unanimously decided Djokovic did not have grounds to dispute Hawke’s deportation order.
Justice Allsop earlier said he accepted Djokovic could be seen as “an iconic sports star that is setting an example that is not ideal to be followed”.
“If Mr Djokovic won the Open, as he has in the past, there is an example embedded in the Minister’s reasoning that this is an example for young and not so young fans of tennis,” he said.
Government officials have not yet said whether they’ll take up their option to ban Djokovic from applying for a visa to enter the country again for the next three years.
The star has faced huge backlash from Australians, who have been split on the decision to detain him.
He has not openly spoken about his jab status, but last year did admit that he was “opposed” to vaccination.
He told reporters: “Personally I am opposed to vaccination.
“I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.”
More to follow…
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